After 20 years of being an architect, Suzanne Zahr decided to create SZ Build, Inc., a General Contractor firm, that would work in sync with her Design firm, Suzanne Zahr Inc. This decision was sparked by a trend she had noticed throughout her career, where the owner-contractor-architect triangle got a bit complicated sometimes (and often a little contentious). General Contractors would influence the Owner to save money on certain design decisions, which would, at times, compromise the design, and it also downshifted the authority of the Architect. She noticed how a blame game would happen in this bizarre love triangle, and by the end of a project, this would cause more harm than good to all parties involved.
Suzanne’s purpose for starting a Design-led, Design-Build firm is to bring the Master Builder methodology back to the industry, where the Architect takes on full ownership and authority for their design and the realization of it. By handling both the design and construction, there is less finger-pointing and the planning, decisions, and compromises can all be handled in-house.
For the Owner, working with a Design-led, Design-Build firm like Suzanne’s means having the peace of mind, and the convenience, of an all-inclusive, “one stop shop” project planning experience. The Owner can save time and money, have one singular point of contact, fewer change orders, and a reduced risk of liability. The process becomes more streamlined in terms of time and cost effectiveness, and the Contractor and Architect take on more of a proactive, problem-solving approach (rather than a “Who’s more right?” approach) because they are on the same side.
Caruccio’s is an excellent example of a truly Architect-led Design-Build effort, including the development of their brand identity and website. When speaking with Lisa Caruccio about her satisfaction with the project, she stated, “I knew [Suzanne] would honor my dream and make my investment so worth it. And she has continually proven this to be the case.” Realized from beginning to end by the efforts of Suzanne and her team, Caruccio’s is their latest project that showcases their deep involvement in all aspects of the business.
Enjoy this awesome progress video to see how Caruccio’s is coming along!
To learn more about the advantages of working with a design-led, Design-Build firm, check out Suzanne’s post on “What is Design-Build?”
To learn more about Caruccio's and their upcoming events, please visit Caruccio's website.
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Written by Julia Hess